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Transition from portable astronomy

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Components, Progress and Plans

Concurrently with the dome assembly, I am cobbling together the potential contents.   Initially, I intend to install my HEQ5+250mm f/4.8 Newtonian on a tripod.   Have tested mount operations successfully indoors with indilib on a RaspberryPi, remotely connected to KStars.   I think indilib (http://www.indilib.org) is brilliant from many points of view.   Also working remotely with RPi/indlib are: Xagyl filter wheel, Atik CCDs (314E, 460EX), DIY focuser drive, GPS module (USB connected).

The electric focuser drive uses one of those ubiquitous steppers, controlled by an Arduino nano. This is bolted and belt-connected to a Crayford focuser.
Works well but is an ugly piece of engineering :embarassed: . Think I'll try to make a better package.
All of that is ready to go if I can just get the dome installed without neglecting too much the remaining work on the house :grin: .
I also have some morale-raising works-in-progress: Have bread-boarded an indiduini meteostation; and am really pleased with the result. I have now to design a robust and rainproof container Have ordered the bits for an all-sky camera (RPi NOIR); following the helpful examples set by several SGL members. Have designed and prototyped automation for the dome. This integrates with KStars/INDI and comprises separate Arduino processors with DC motors for dome rotation and shutter control. The shutter-controller is wirelessly (RF24) linked to the indilib, dome driver. Pleasingly it all works on a test-bed. The challenge I now face is to mount it robustly and (fingers-crossed) aesthetically in the (as yet not assembled) dome. I feel I will be paying for the sheet-metal work. :rolleyes: Have designed a pier for my EQ8 mount. Again, to resist corrosion, this has to be of marine-grade (316) stainless-steel. While I intend to weld the thing together I feel it wise to have the bits laser-cut. I am however unsure about where I can get the material.

This forum, in particular, has given me the inspiration and the nerve to attempt this project. I admire what people have done and am very grateful that they are willing, so generously, to share their experiences.

Dwarf Nova

Dwarf Nova


A start

With the platform down, I have been contemplating how to assemble the dome (Pulsar Observatories 2.2m), making sure that it is secured always against the wind; which can gust here at ~100mph.   I have designed a stainless-steel bracket, several copies of which are to be bolted to the cupola. This will allow me to anchor the cupola to the concrete platform. I have bought marine-grade, stainless eye-bolts for this purpose.   So I can source my brackets could some kind person please recommend a supplier of small metal orders who preferably will also laser-cut?

Dwarf Nova

Dwarf Nova

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